27 Nov 2015

Klopp warns: 'Unplayable' £140k-a-week Liverpool star may miss Swansea City game because of fitness concerns

Last night, Christian Benteke scored another top quality goal for Liverpool, and after 13 appearances, he has now weighed in with a creditable 7 goals/assists (one every 125 minutes). Clearly, when he's fully match-fit, Benteke is capable of being a major asset for the club, but according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, the £32m summer signing may have to sit out this weekend's game with Swansea City.

When asked about Benteke's fitness today, Klopp told reporters:

"I don’t know whether Christian is capable of playing two games in three days. We have to see, and then decide".

Although I personally never like to see strikers benched after scoring a goal, the responsible move here is to start Benteke on the bench this Sunday, and use him as an impact sub.

If he was more robust, there'd be no problem with starting Benteke, but as Klopp suggests, there's a question mark over his ability to play two full games in three days.

In any event, Firmino has proven that he can play up-front effectively, so there's no real problem with resting Benteke against Swansea.

Benteke [Salary: £140k-a-week] has come in for some criticism for his performance against Bordeaux, and whilst it's true that he wasted several golden opportunities, and gave the ball away several times, the bottom line is this:

Benteke's primary role in the team is to score and create goals, and he did that.

* Scored the winning goal, which secured qualification to the next round.

* Had a goal disallowed, and won Liverpool a penalty (although, in my view, he deserves zero credit for that embarrassing piece of gamesmanship).

In my view, Benteke is doing very well for LFC so far. His hold up play is second-to-none, and he's contributing a goal/assist every 125 mins. As a comparison, consider the stats of Premier League strikers who've been fit for the wholse season so far:

* Kane: Goal/assist every 144 mins.

* Rooney: Goal/assist every 208 mins.

* Costa: Goal/assist every 203 mins.

* Pelle: Goal/assist every 132 mins.

* Giroud: Goal/assist every 123 mins.

* Sanchez: Goal/assist every 108 mins.

* Lukaku: Goal/assist every 97 mins.

* Aguero: Goal/assist every 84 mins.

* Vardy: Goal/assist every 80 mins.

Despite settling into a new club, undergoing the disruption of early-season managerial change, *and* suffering from two injuries, Benteke is clearly holding his own.

Once he gets up to full match-fitness, I full expect Benteke - described by Steven Gerrard as 'unplayable at times' - to kick on and improve his goals/assists ratio.

Author: Jaimie K


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